Characterist in the news: SAF training accident – CMP v 3SG (NS) Hubert Wah (19 November 2019)

25 November 2019 | Adrian WeeRachel Soh

Characterist LLC’s Adrian Wee and Rachel Soh represented 3SG (NS) Wah Yun Teng Hubert at his plead guilty mention on 19 November 2019.

3SG (NS) Wah pleaded guilty to one charge under Section 304A(b) of the Penal Code, for causing death by negligent act, and to one charge under Section 41(b) of the Singapore Armed Forces Act, for doing a negligent act endangering life.

3SG (NS) Wah was one of 3 key persons involved in the unfortunate incident on 19 January 2019 in New Zealand that resulted in the untimely death of CFC (NS) Pang Wei Chong Aloysius. The third key person involved was ME2 Teo Gee Siang Ivan, who pleaded guilty to separate charges at the same hearing. The 3 men had been involved in the rectification of an error in a Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer (“SSPH”) when CFC Pang was crushed between the flick rammer of the SSPH and the slew ring.

The Defence argued, among other things, that sentencing precedents involving other military incidents were particularly relevant given the fact that complex machinery and operating procedures were involved and that parties operated in an environment of heightened stress. The Defence also took the position that a sentence necessary to deter negligence was not the same as one which sought to deter recidivist or egregious criminal activity. In light of these factors, the Defence submitted that fines would be sufficient.

Following consideration of written and oral sentencing submissions by both the Prosecution and the Defence, the Court Martial Tribunal was of the view that a non-custodial sentence would be appropriate and ruled that 3SG (NS) Wah would be fined a total of S$8,000 and demoted to the rank of Corporal.